The downside of free, cheap, and easy in internet marketing

By | August 14, 2009

In these economic times, more people are turning to the Web to create extra income streams, but a common mistake they are making is expecting to make money in the long term without wanting to spend a dime, or else committing to very little expenditure on getting a credible domain name and hosting!

Think about it. A real “offline” business in the brick and mortar world would typically need a start up capital of at least a few thousands dollars. Yet, why are most people reluctant to apply the same mindset – for an “online” business, even though in most cases you don’t have to spend thousands to get started?

Free, cheap, and easy is not always the best

Yup, there is always strong demand for “free hosting” or “free domain.” I guess it’s the allure of FREE, EASY, and CHEAP. But what newbies are not told is the downside of free, easy, and cheap, which only becomes obvious months later, when these very same people wring their hands in despair and go complain at some board about their lack of results, or throw in the towel. Now that is a lot of time and energy wasted.

If you want a free solution to get started in an online business, I would recommend Blogger. But is a free hosting and NO domain of your own the best way to go IF you can afford to get a proper domain and hosting?

Buy a good domain name if you can

internet-marketingI still don’t understand why people get cold feet when it comes to spending money to get a decent domain for starters – unless they are really strapped for cash. There are lots of unused domain names for sale on domain broker sites (for example Namecheap Marketplace which I’ve sold hundreds of dollars worth of domains there) that are several years old, well primed, and I have seen many such domains having an easier time in the search engine rankings if websites were set up for them. Many of these shorter domains are easy to remember and many do get type in traffic – free traffic, if you will. A ready made bonus, in my book.

While you can ALSO conjure up a fairly decent domain and register it for under $10, but in many cases the only domains available to register are three word combinations which are not likely to have any inherent type in traffic – plus they will be brand new. With effort, you can make them work, though.

Think about the SEO factor

Here’s an SEO question. Will new domains fare poorer than old domains? I’ve seen some evidence over the years to suggest that old, keyword focused domains do better than new domains in getting ranked, all things being equal. Unless you’re really, absolutely strapped for cash, spending a few hundred or more to buy a good domain demonstrates your seriousness in what you’re doing – and I believe you will start on a better footing as well. But of course, if you are tight on cash, getting a long and relatively ugly domain is still comparatively better than launching a website on a free subdomain, sited on a free hosting.

While free, cheap and easy has its place, I cannot understand why people who can otherwise afford it would be prepared to skimp on spending on these essentials. I believe Google takes into account nuances like quality and type of domain, page relevancy, IP neighborhood, and the quality/diversity of links, among others, in ranking a page or a website in its results. Don’t forget spammers also love free and cheap stuff, so it’s hardly surprising if Google factors this into their algorithm scoring, but don’t expect them to tell you that.

With a zero or low budget, I think it is going to be extra hard in convincing a quality search engine like Google to take your blog or website seriously.  Yes, you can hope for fairy tales, but in today’s climate, it’s a little hard to imagine. So can you honestly expect to succeed long term when you can’t even commit a couple hundred dollars to “build” an “online business?” My thoughts.

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